After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, New Zealand lost a wicket in the very first over when Tom Latham fell to Stuart Broad. From there, every other member of New Zealand’s top five managed to make a start before getting out.
Will Young fell lbw to Jack Leach for 20, returning captain Kane Williamson was caught behind off Broad for 31, Devon Conway dragged on off debutant Jamie Overton for 26 and Henry Nicholls was out in bizarre fashion off Leach for 19.
However, after being reduced to 123-5, Mitchell and Blundell shared another superb 102 run partnership. Together, they pushed New Zealand up to 225-5 at the close of play, with Mitchell making an unbeaten 78 and Blundell finishing on 45 not out.
Despite the New Zealand fightback, England bowled very well all day, with Leach in particular delivering for his captain. The spinner got through 30 overs and picked up 2-75, while going at an economy rate of 2.50.
Broad was excellent early on to account for both Latham and Williamson, while Potts was unlucky not to pick up a wicket and Overton provided a point of difference.
Here are five talking points from the day’s play…
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With James Anderson ruled out with an ankle problem, England handed Jamie a debut ahead of twin brother Craig. And the Surrey quick was straight into the action after New Zealand won the toss and decided to bat first.
After Broad and Potts took the new ball, Overton was introduced after nine overs and delivered an 88mph bouncer to Young with his first ball in an England shirt. Overton has regularly clocked speeds of over 90mph for Surrey this season and his opening spell was the quickest of the series so far, although it averaged out at around 84.5mph.
He picked up his first international wicket in his second spell when Conway edged the ball onto his own stumps for 26. And the 28-year-old ended his first day of international cricket with 1-41 from 16 overs.
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Latham’s struggles continue
With 12 hundreds and a career average of 40.23 to his name, Latham is one of the best Test openers in the world right now. However, the 30-year-old has badly struggled for runs against England so far this series.
Having been dismissed for a six-ball duck in the first innings at Headingley, Latham has scored just 45 runs at an average of nine in five innings, with over half of those runs coming in his first innings at Trent Bridge where he made 26. In New Zealand’s previous Test series against South Africa in February, Latham made just 16 in three innings at 5.33 and he is in desperate need of a score with just one innings left against England.
As a result of his struggles, Latham’s average of nine is the lowest by a travelling opener in England to have played at least five innings since John Parker in 1973. On that occasion, Parker managed just 23 runs at an average of 4.60 for New Zealand as they were beaten 2-0 by England.
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Broad stars with the new ball
With long-time bowling partner Anderson out of action, Broad stepped up in his absence and led the attack brilliantly with the new ball. After his fiancee Mollie King announced the couple are expecting their first child and just one day before his 36th birthday, Broad picked up 2-45 and is closing on Glenn McGrath.
The legendary Australian seamer to 563 Test wickets in his illustrious career and Broad is now just 15 behind him with 548. Former England batter Mark Butcher told Sky Sports: “England lose one legend in Jimmy Anderson, then in comes Stuart Broad.
“That first over from Stuart Board, barring one delivery was spot on. The intensity that Stuart came out with this morning is something that will put you under a lot of pressure.”
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Leach’s bizarre wicket
In his first Test match at Headingley since his role in the stunning 2019 Ashes win, Leach enjoyed a memorable start to the match. The spinner picked up a wicket with his very first ball, getting Young lbw for 20.
He then dismissed Nicholls in truly bizarre fashion, getting him caught by Lees after the ball deflected off Mitchell’s bat while he attempted to take evasive action.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” former England captain Michael Atherton told Sky Sports. “And particularly cruel for Nicholls, who was looking a bit out of sorts, battling away.
“He finally gets one out of the middle of the bat, and then Mitchell, trying desperately to get out of the way, couldn’t have placed that in the hands of Alex Lees any better if he tried! An unbelievable moment.”
Leach ended the day with 2-75 from 30 overs, the most he has ever bowled on day one of a Test match, and it was an impressive performance from the Somerset star
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Mitchell and Blundell continue to impress
Despite being bumped down the order as a result of Williamson’s return to the side, Mitchell and Blundell continued their brilliant run of form as they shared an unbeaten 102 run partnership to rescue their side.
The pair have enjoyed five partnerships so far this series, adding 50 and 195 at Lord’s, 236 and 45 at Trent Bridge and now 102 at Headingley. Mitchell in particular has been truly outstanding this series, having struck a century in the second innings at Lord’s and made 190 and 62 not out at Trent Bridge.
At Headingley, he passed fifty for the fourth time in five innings, having benefited from England not reviewing an lbw shout that would have seen him dismissed for just eight “Daryl Mitchell has held New Zealand together,” Phil Tufnell told BBC Test Match Special. “If he hadn’t been playing, England would’ve run right through them.”
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